RAFA
Biloela

RAFA Biloela
Type
Collier (AC)
Builder
Cockatoo Island Dockyard, Sydney, NSW
Laid Down
21 October 1918
Launched
10 April 1919
Commissioned
5 July 1920
Decommissioned
14 November 1927
Fate
Sold in March 1931 and then sunk by submarine attack on 21 November 1940
Dimensions & Displacement
Displacement 9,008 tonnes
Length 116.46 metres
Beam 16.46 metres
Draught 6.86 metres
Performance
Speed 11 knots
Complement
Crew 70
Capacity
  • 5,077 tonnes (gross cargo)
  • 3,054 tonnes (net cargo)
Propulsion
Machinery Triple expansion reciprocating engines, 1 screw, 2,300 hp
Horsepower 2,300
Armament
Guns Mountings for two 102mm BL guns

Completed too late for war service, RAFA Biloela served as a fleet collier from 1920 to 1927. She was the first ship built entirely of Australian material and from Australian designs. During her short career in the Royal Australian Navy the ship made several voyages to New Guinea and the New Hebridies until the disposal of the squadrons coal-burning cruisers and destroyers necessitated her decommissioning on 14 November 1927.

HMAS Biloela being launched at Cockatoo Island Dockyard on 10 April 1919

RAFA Biloela being launched at Cockatoo Island Dockyard on 10 April 1919

During the early 1920s plans were formulated for Biloela's conversion to a seaplane carrier embarking twelve aircraft, but along with a similar plan for RAFA Kurumba the scheme was dropped, as it would divert the ships from their principal task of fleet support. The planned armament of two 4-inch (102mm) guns was never mounted.

After sale in March 1931 (for £14,500) Biloela was re-named Wollert (1932), Ivanhoe (1937), then Yoh Sing and finally Cree. During World War II she was three times the victim of enemy attacks. On 9 February 1940 she was damaged by aircraft five miles east of Rattray Head, Scotland and on 26 April 1940 she was again damaged by a mine in position 52 degrees 53 minutes North, 02 degrees 19 minutes East. She was eventually sunk on 21 November 1940 in position 54 degrees 39 minutes North, 18 degrees 50 minutes West by an enemy submarine.

HMAS Biloela was commissioned into the Royal Australian Navy for use as a fleet collier
RAFA Biloela was commissioned into the Royal Australian Navy for use as a fleet collier